[Today’s post “All You Need to Know About Choosing a Homeschool Group” was written by contributor Michelle Habrych.]
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Homeschooling takes many different forms in homes across the country, as well as around the world. For some people, it means everything is done at home. For our family, from the beginning, it has meant being part of homeschool groups. Today, I’d love to share with you “All You Need to Know About Choosing a Homeschool Group.”
All You Need to Know About Choosing a Homeschool Group
We joined our first group when my kids were 3 and 5. The kids took three classes on a Tuesday morning: art, music and story time, and a physical activity (my daughter learned ballet basics while my son was in a gym class). The best thing about that year was the people we met and the relationships we started. My kids made friendships that year which continue to this day; some of those moms have been influential in helping me navigate homeschooling throughout the past decade. Their encouragement kept me going in the early years when I might have considered giving up.
What are your Reasons for joining a homeschool group?
Reasons for joining a homeschool group are varied. Before deciding to join a group, consider what you wish to see in your children and yourself as a result of your time there. Are you needing help with teaching a difficult subject? Do you need “classmates” for your only child? Are you feeling lonely and in need of support? Do you have knowledge you wish to share with others?
We joined our group for the experience of a class as well as to make homeschooling friends. We didn’t know many other homeschoolers in our area at the time.
Our reason for still being there has evolved over time. While I want my kids to have the experience of going to a place to learn with others where they enjoy friendships in a familiar environment and I still retain control of their education through homeschooling, I also need help with some of the more difficult subjects. Science is not my strong suit!
Additionally, I have grown into the role of someone who has been at the group for a long period of time, and I enjoy sharing my wisdom and experience with newer homeschool moms as they join us, just as was done for me in my beginning years. Plus, I have found that often teaching a few classes is another way to give back to the group.
What level of Commitment does the homeschool group require?
Groups require different levels of commitment, so keep that in mind. Some groups allow you to take classes as you need them, even permitting you to drop off your student for class. Other groups require you to take on a job and be present the entire day. Depending on your reasons for being part of a group, either may be a good fit for your family. Know what the group expects from you at the start; know what you are willing to give. If these expectations do not overlap, be willing to adapt or walk away.
Is there a Cost?
Cost is a consideration. Often when you are dropping your students off for a class, whether it is at a homeschool group, a park district, or other place, there is cost involved. Think about what you’re willing to pay. These teachers put in a lot of effort to create their classes, and you need to decide how much you’re willing to pay for their expertise.
Homeschool Groups that are just Social
Some homeschool groups don’t provide classes and just offer social opportunities. Another group we have been part of for nine years is this second kind of group. Once a month during the school year, our group hosts an activity meeting of some sort, including science fair, games day, talent show, and even a kids’ flea market. No activities are required, and members are expected to help plan and execute the events. If they don’t, the events don’t happen. There is also a once-a-month social time for parents (typically called moms’ breakfast which meets at a local chain restaurant). Park days round out our social activities for this group.
What is a Homeschool Co-op?
A true co-op means everyone participates and takes turns teaching. Our social group started a preschool co-op a few years ago, which has grown to include opportunities for students up through high school. This can be great for those who don’t have money to spend but want to try group learning experiences. Personally, we are already so involved in classes at our other group that we have not joined this co-op yet.
Do what helps reach your Goals for your family
As you search out a group, keep in mind your goals. Be willing to adapt or walk away. Groups aren’t for everyone, but ours have certainly made the past decade of homeschooling more enjoyable.
- How to do an Ancient Greek Tragedy with your Homeschool Co-op: “The Trojan Women”
- The Best Classes to Teach at a Homeschool Co-op
- Homeschool Co-ops 101 by Karen Lange
- How to Add Music to Your Homeschool C0-op
Michelle Habrych and her two kids love their homeschool groups. As a result of their involvement over the years, both kids have enjoyed learning Shakespeare, performing in musicals, and even learning to play musical instruments.